Monday, September 21, 2009

The Help by Kathryn Stockettt

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 464
Genre: General fiction
Book Source: Own audio

Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed. -
 book cover

My Thoughts: 
I listened to The Help on audio and have to say it was one of my favourites of the year. Voices are captured brilliantly by 3 different narrators and I was completely captivated for 18 hours. Whilst I love reading, it is a rare experience with audio to have such an emotional connection to a story and the characters, almost like I was part of the experience, a participant rather than an observer. It transported me to a time and place and shared experiences with me that I had little knowledge of, and I found myself in turn, outraged, amused and saddened. The Help tells the story of a white woman, secretly compiling an account of the real-life experiences of coloured women working for white families, in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 60's.

Skeeter Phelan is a forward thinking, highly educated young white woman and aspiring author, who believes there is more to life than bridge, Junior League and the shallow prejudices shared by many of her peers.  A 'bathroom initiative' to further segregate coloured maids in their employers' homes spurs Skeeter to tell the story that needs to be told.

As Skeeter explains "Wasn't that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought."

Aibileen and Minny are maids employed by Skeeter's 'friends'. Together they form an unlikely trio, sharing a common bond & cause as they attempt to bring the help's stories to publication. I loved Minny's outspoken character and found myself sympathising with her emotional outbursts that frequently got her fired. Aibileen is wise and kind, she's raised and loved 17 white children throughout her life and Mae Mobely is no exception. Aibileen's relationship with this little girl is touching and heartbreaking as she attempts to impart values of love, tolerance and acceptance to her young charge.

 "You is kind. You is smart. You is important."

"I want to yell so loud that Baby Girl can hear me that dirty ain't a color, disease ain't the negro side of town. I want to stop that moment from coming--and it come in ever white child's life -- when they start to think that colored folks ain't as good as whites"

The Help is a story of hope, of love and friendship, of inequality and injustices, it's a story of courage, the courage to do what is right in the face of adversity & ostracism. It's a poignant, funny and enlightening read that I cannot recommend highly enough.

Visit Kathryn Stockett's website to find out more about this wonderful new voice in fiction. 


  1. What a beautiful review! I might buy this one while I'm out tomorrow! Yay, you did another one, I'm so proud of you! Now only 5 to go!

  2. I just reviewed this book too, and I loved it. You've made me almost wish I'd listened to it on audio. :-) Your review is lovely, and I really like the quotes you chose -- they really give readers a glimpse of the heart of the novel.

  3. Nice review. This book made my 2009 favorites list.

  4. Fabulous review! You hit the nail on the head perfectly. The Help is on my list for best read in 2009 also.

  5. Sounds like a strong story. I do remember seeing it around and wondering about, and it seems like the kind of book the library would get

  6. I have to read this book. I've heard so many amazing things about it. Thanks for your review! =)

  7. Love the review =)

    I have this on my reading list. I'm excited to hear that there are 3 narrators that did an awesome job. I'm not big on audio books, but I've always wanted to listen to one with more than one narrator (and jeez I'm having trouble spelling that word lol)

    Anywho, I may just do the audio version of this one =) Thanks!

  8. Great review, the book sounds great to read.

  9. I will get around to reading this one of these sounds so good! Awesome review, too!

  10. I was looking at this book the other day in the store but I didn't pick it up! Darn, I'll have to next time, that's fopr sure! great review!

  11. Incredible review. I can't wait to read mine ~ Or do I now want to listen to it.

    Oh, dilemma!

    Love your reviews.

    Way to go!

  12. With every review that calls it a favorite of 2009, I find it more difficult to avoid this book!

  13. I've had my eye on this book for a while, and your review makes me realize I should read it sooner rather than later. I've seen nothing but good reviews.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  14. My best friend enjoyed this so I have added it to my TBR list. Im more anxious to read it now after reading your review!

  15. It sounds like a lovely book - and it's getting rave reviews everywhere! I'll have to check it out. Great review and post.

  16. I've wanted to read this book, since the moment I first heard about it. Anybody want to send me a copy?

    Lovely review.

  17. Everyone has said so many great things about this one! Wow! SOunds really good!

    That was an awesome review~

  18. I had to skim the review - we are reading this for the new online book club over at my blog. I would love to have you participate in the discussion that will be posted on October 26.

    If you are interested here is that link:

  19. This is a great post. I look forward in reading this book.

  20. I was stuck *wink* in Borders a few weeks ago for about 4 hours between transports. I saw this book and took a gander. I sat down and read the first chapter & knew instantly I wanted to read this book so I bought it and put it on my TBR pile. Now I bet the audiobook would be awesome so I may have to get that. Thanks for the review.
    Love & Hugs,

  21. Holy Smokes! One of the best this year. That is saying a lot. Maybe I should rethink the decision to not get this!


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